The new Golden 1 Center is the crown jewel of Sacramento’s rejuvenated downtown, and it is no surprise that Sacramento State is already making its mark on the new facility.

The University made history in November when it participated in the first college basketball game at the arena, taking on UC Davis. Sacramento State was the official host for the NCAA Tournament’s first- and second-round games held in Sacramento in March. And in May, Golden 1 Center will host the Spring Commencement ceremonies.

But Sacramento State’s connections to the facility run even deeper. Much of the art outside and inside the arena is the work of students and alumni. And an alumnus, Ryan Montoya, serves as the chief technology officer for the Sacramento Kings, overseeing all of Golden 1 Center’s lauded technological features.

Golden 1 Center is one of many examples of how Sacramento State is woven into the fabric of the capital region, and how the University’s students and alumni are making their mark on the city. – Jonathan Morales

The brain behind the world’s smartest arena

Golden 1 Center has been hailed as one of the most technologically advanced arenas in the world. And the individual responsible for keeping all of it – the massive video screen, the 1,000 miles of structured cabling, the wifi network that can handle 250,000 Instagram posts per second – running smoothly is Ryan Montoya, a graduate of Sacramento State’s Executive MBA program.

“We’re not only connecting our fans to each other,” Montoya says of the arena’s vast technological capabilities, “but we’re connecting our fans to the city and the city to the world.”

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A green and golden first impression

The technology isn’t the only part of Golden 1 Center where Sacramento State’s impact can be seen. As visitors enter the arena, they are greeted by several pieces of art, including some from Sac State students and alumni.

The giant, vertical video boards that tower over the arena entrance feature digital art created by students in Professor Rachel Clarke’s art classes. About 60 students worked last summer to design animated art to be displayed on the screens, and 20 pieces were ultimately selected.

“It means a lot to be involved in a project of this scope,” says student Marinna Hill, a Sacramento native who based her animation on changing interpretations of the city. “To give the rest of Sacramento a glimpse of what this city means to me is an amazing opportunity that I will never forget.”

Once visitors enter the arena, they can look up to see the work of alumnus Bryan Valenzuela. His piece features 400 hand-blown glass spheres suspended from the ceiling, meant to represent the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers.

Read more about Sac State's artistic contributions in our Newsroom:

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